Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 70803
Estación Experimental “La Mayora”, CSIC, 29750 Algarrobo-Costa, Málaga, Spain
Departamento de Biología Vegetal, Universidad de La Laguna, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV), family Closteroviridae and Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV), family Potyviridae are whitefly and aphid transmitted, respectively, which in double infections cause sweet potato virus disease (SPVD) that is a serious sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas Lam.) disease in Africa (2). During the past decade, sweet potato plants showing symptoms similar to SPVD have been observed in most areas of Spain. Nevertheless, not much information is available about the identity of the viruses infecting this crop in Spain. During the summer of 2002, sweet potato plants with foliar mosaic, stunting, leaf malformation, chlorosis, and ringspot symptoms were observed in several farms in Málaga (southern Spain) and Tenerife and Lanzarote (Canary Islands, Spain). Vine cuttings were collected from 21 symptomatic plants in Málaga and from eight plants on Lanzarote and six on Tenerife. Scions were grafted to the indicator hosts, Brazilian morning glory (I. setosa) and I. nil cv. Scarlett O'Hara. Three weeks after graft inoculations, all plants showed various degrees of mosaic, chlorosis, leaf malformation, and stunting. Four field collections (two from Málaga, one from Tenerife, and one from Lanzarote) with severe symptoms on I. setosa were selected for whitefly (Bemisia tabaci biotype Q) transmission experiments. Acquisition and transmission periods were 48 h. I. setosa was the acquisition host, and I. nil was the transmission host. For each isolate, groups of 10 whiteflies per I. nil plant were used. All I. nil plants used as transmission hosts with the four, field collections showed chlorosis and leaf malformation. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed on I. setosa (grafted with the four selected field collections) and I. nil plants (from the whitefly transmission experiments) with primers for the HSP70h gene of SPCSV. A 450-bp DNA fragment was obtained with all I. setosa and I. nil samples. Sequencing of the 450-bp DNA from two samples from Málaga yielded a nucleotide sequence with 98 to 99% similarity to the HSP70h gene of West African SPCSV isolates. Foliar samples from I. setosa, originally grafted with the 21 vine cuttings, were used for nitrocellulose membrane enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (NCM-ELISA) testing with antiserum specific to SPFMV-RC (provided by J. Moyer, North Carolina State University, Raleigh). Positive control was sap extract from I. setosa that was infected with the common strain of SPFMV. Procedures for NCM-ELISA were as described (4). NCM-ELISA testing suggested that SPFMV was present in all samples. RT-PCR was conducted with degenerate primers POT1/POT2 (1). The nucleotide sequence that was amplified by these two primers spans part of the NIb protein and part of the coat protein gene of potyviruses. All samples yielded the expected 1.3-kb DNA. Sequencing of the RT-PCR products of two isolates from Malaga and sequence comparisons yielded nucleotide sequences with 97% similarity to two East African isolates (Nam 1 and Nam 3) of SPFMV (3). These results confirm the presence of SPCSV and SPFMV in sweet potato in Spain.
References: (1) D. Colinet and J. Kummert. J. Virol. Methods 45:149, 1993. (2) R. W. Gibson et al. Plant Pathol. 47:95, 1998. (3) J. F. Kreuze et al. Arch. Virol. 145:567, 2000. (4) E. R. Souto et al. Plant Dis. 87:1226, 2003.